Saturday, June 30, 2012
Orioles shouldn't expect much from Thome
By ESPN Stats & Information
When the Baltimore Orioles saw Jim Thome go 6-for-13 with a home run and four RBI against them in a three-game series earlier this season, it must have been enough to convince them that Thome is still a valuable asset.
The problem is that the Orioles are the one team that Thome has been successful against this season. Now that the Philadelphia Phillies traded him to Baltimore, he'll playing for the Orioles, not against them.
Thome is hitting .083 with no home runs and no RBI against National League opponents this season. Against AL East opponents other than the Orioles, he's hitting .143 (2-for-14) with two solo homers. Against all AL opponents other than the Orioles, he's hitting .184 (9-for-49).
After spending 12 seasons with the same team, the Cleveland Indians, Thome has switched teams for the seventh time in the last 10 years.
Thome will likely make his return to designated hitter after playing sparingly, mostly in pinch-hit situations, for the Phillies.
Thome is currently tied with Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time home run list (609). Hank Aaron and Willie Mays are the only players in MLB history with more career home runs at the time they were traded.
Despite Thome only having five home runs this season, he's actually hitting homers more often than last season, when he homered once in every 18.5 at-bats. Thome's ratio of one home run every 12.4 at-bats this season is his second-highest frequency in his last five seasons. Of those seasons, only his 2010 campaign was better (11.0).
The Orioles are hoping Thome can add some power to their lineup with more playing time. This season, Orioles designated hitters are hitting .258 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI. Those players are only hitting homers once every 24.4 at-bats, so Thome's power production could be an upgrade.
From 2009-2011, only David Ortiz hit more homers (85) as a designated hitter than Thome (62).
During the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Thome hit just .209 against the AL East, his worst batting average against any AL division, with just four homers in 129 at-bats.
In his career, Thome is a .265 hitter as a DH and a .284 hitter as a starting position player.
Thome is 41 years old and still trying to add to his terrific career numbers. Only one American League player at least 41 years old has ever hit more than 22 home runs in a season, and that was 41-year-old Ted Williams (29) in 1960.
There have only been 13 home runs by a player at least 41 years old in Orioles franchise history. Ten of those homers were by Harold Baines in 2000. No other Oriole that old has hit more than one homer in a season.